A few days ago I received a much belated letter, 23 years to be precise. I should already have received it in 1987 at the age of six, when I was staying in Berkeley, California with my family for nine months. During that time I started the hobby of collecting stamps (long since discontinued), so I ordered free souvenir pages of the US Postal Service with some stamps. At the time the letter arrived at our house in Berkeley, however, we have already left the US and returned to Germany.

front of the envelope with my name on it cover page of the letter one of the stamps from the letter another stamp, featuring George Washington

This would have been the end of the story, if it weren't for the landlord. When my brother decided to visit our old house during a vacation of his young family in California last month, they were greeted by our former landlord who happened to take care of the garden on that day. As it turned out, the house was unoccupied at that time, so my brother, who was ten years old in 1987, was able to view the house and revive old memories. Not only that, but the amazing landlord kept my belated letter for a whopping 23 years, filed away in a filing shelf which he keeps for all his former tenants.

Below are some pictures of the Now and Then. The upper row shows pictures of my family and me in 1986/7, while the lower row shows the house as it looks in 2010. The little boy there is my nephew Sammy, and the guy in the white pullover is our great ex-landlord.

my family in the front garden my siblings and me in the back garden Goofy and me at Disneyland in 1986 Mickey and me at Disneyland in 1986
Sammy and our ex-landlord in the front garden Sammy in the front garden Sammy examining the lemon tree Sammy in the back garden